During the first 6 months of 2023 I was on a tilt. Bad beats + bad play.

I had 2 choices: give up playing poker or accept that I am playing with far better players and improve my game.

I had also jumped up in stakes this year. From 1K buyin home homes to 4/5/10K where effective stacks would be 30/40K after a couple of hours. And players who play at these stakes are far far better. Some of them do this as a full time living.

I also gave up playing with people who had much bigger bankroll than mine. It was stupid to go into hands with people for whom 50K meant nothing.

I decided to play mostly with people who would atleast feel bad after losing a few buyins and not rebuy 10 buyins and bully the rest of the table.

Okay, let’s talk numbers. I was down 2.4L for the year at one point. There was never a long losing streak. I would win 20K in one session, and in the next lose 30. I never managed to have a long streak of wins. And I had days where I lost pretty big. A 80K loss in a session meant to make up you have to win 20K in 4 sessions. Just to break even.

After a lot of improvement in my game, but doing hand analysis, as well as playing with more saner people who don’t want to gamble every hand, I have recovered 2.1L. Most of it in the last few months.

I had actually recovered a lot of it earlier, but then had a big loss in the Diwali Poker game I hosted and gave up all my gains.

I actually won 1L in a session yesterday. My highest cash win in a home game.

I am still down ~30K for the year. This is not bad at all because before this year, I used to mostly play 1K buyin home games, that too with people who were far below me when it comes to skill. This year I tested myself vs elite players, people who are far better than me. I have played vs pros. Played vs people whose net worth is 100X of mine. I have managed to not go on tilt when things don’t go my way. I have become far more calmer. And my Poker skills have improved massively.

I think I have ended positive in like 8 our of 10 sessions. And 2 of my biggest wins have come in the last 10 sessions.

If you think about it spending 30K to play mid/high stakes in India is not bad. I will never make enough money from Poker to replace my tech job. I must have played 50-100 sessions this year. Probably closer to 100 than 50. So ~500/ session to test yourself vs some really good players in the Bengaluru poker scene is not bad. My average Swiggy order is more than that.

There are still leaks in my game. And over time other players also improve. So it will be interesting to see if I continue to continue my upswing.

Update on 31st December: Down 84K total. Played a few more sessions and did not run good.